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HomeentertainmentBarbara Walters changed TV interviews in a way she may never return

Barbara Walters changed TV interviews in a way she may never return

When Barbara Walters interviews Monica Lewinsky for a special /17 as early as 2001, a total of 48 Millions of Americans tune in to ABC to watch.

Seventy-four million. That was a quarter of the total population of the United States at the time. The interview had an average 36 share, meaning that nearly half of all televisions in use at the time were watching Walters.

So far on this morning about Walters’ groundbreaking career at NBC and ABC Career has written many nights on the ABC Nightly News. She changed the way TV news anchors are paid (the 8-figure deals today wouldn’t exist without Walters paving the way) and changed with The View daytime TV show.

But the news anchor died on Friday at the age of 1235289494 , and fundamentally changed a core part of television news programming: the interview.

Walters takes a newsworthy interview and turns it into a big deal. A must see TV show.

Her skill and preparation, combined with her unrivaled ability to seize big “opportunities,” took one of the most common and banal TV news formats and made it Be the cooler talk of water. Interviews don’t take up 5 minutes of morning shows or evening newscasts, or possibly longer segments on Sunday mornings, they take up a full hour of primetime network TV, where they take on football, drama and sitcoms.

Walters’ prime-time interviews often earn their time slots, and moments in these conversations become cultural touchstones .

Her Peabody Award Winning 1995 Interview with Actor Christopher Reeve (He First interview since riding accident paralyzed him) got 36 share, more than a third One TV is watched during that hour. Walters interviewed Reeve several times prior to 2001’s death, which he used to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Her interview with Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator who worked as a tour guide at the Bay of Pigs, was nothing like what Americans were used to seeing on television. The rebellion was born in the mountains of Cuba.

But she never backs down and is always willing to ask direct, pointed questions. Whether it’s Vladimir Putin in Russia 1995 (ask him if he ever ordered the killing of anyone) or Bashar in Syria Assad (asked if he ever ordered the killing of anyone he thought was the next dictator to be killed or overthrown by his people), Walters obtained interviews with powerful figures no one else could stop, and offered asked tough questions that others would not ask. Americans watched.

But when she was interviewing dignitaries in China, she was equally effortless. Her prime-time interviews with Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter became the template for what is now a relatively common fixture on television: Presidential Profiles.

When actress Katharine Hepburn told Walters that she sometimes sees herself as a tree, Walters quickly responded by saying “what kind of tree are you if you think you are a tree?” A tree? In her interview with boxer Mike Tyson and his then-wife Robin Givens, Givens told Walters that she was “very, very scared” when her husband was angry. She applied a month later Divorce. Willing to let a newsworthy interview go on for a long time while allowing her co-panelists to team up and grill the guests of the day.

But despite primetime news The character interviews haven’t gone away (over the past few months, ABC’s 74/ 36 Interview with Michelle Obama and Matthew Matthew Perry et al.), they are not at all what they consider a cultural moment to be when Walters is in the room.

That’s why when primetime interviews break It’s newsworthy when it’s messy (e.g. Oprah Winfrey’s 2014 interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, attracting Millions of viewers, huh – a huge number by Walters standards, but a huge one in today’s world Smash).

Everything but live news, sports and entertainment is a reaming service first, and the days of interviews as water cooler fodder may be coming to an end. When George S. In his first interview with ex-British spy Christopher Steele, George Stephanopoulos aired a segment on Sunday’s show and reserved the hour-long special for

Casey Anthony decided to do her first interview after she was acquitted of murdering her daughter more than a decade ago, and she is Made for the Peacock series.

Walters was a trailblazer, but her contributions to TV news were more enduring. She created a format that is ubiquitous (Fox News The channel’s highest-rated show in 2022 is The Five, a panel show in a very Similar to The View).

But as she helped create the interview as an event, she was in 36 marks the beginning of the end for the format.

It’s never going to go away completely, but only Walters can get all of America tuned in. 1235289494



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